BBG Watch Commentary

Bad Dreams Study from Canada takes precedence at Voice of America over President Obama's comments on Ukraine
Bad Dreams Study from Canada takes precedence at Voice of America over President Obama’s comments on Ukraine

Voice of America (VOA) may not have enough resources to report all news, but we want to set the record straight. There are enough resources to post multiple VOA reports on Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber, court room celebrity Amanda Knox, a Canadian dreams study, and the British royals.

It is not primarily a “resource-issue,” as VOA Director David Ensor claims. It is primarily a bad management/bad employee morale/misguided anti-VOA Charter programming policy issue.

We want to make three points perfectly clear.

1. VOA reporters and other rank and file employees are not at fault here. They are intimidated by the senior management and helpless. The vast majority of VOA reporters wants to cover important news stories as required by the VOA Charter, but they can’t because news coverage policy is determined at the senior executive level and imposed on them against their wishes and better judgment. They are afraid of losing their jobs and afraid to speak out.

2. Management’s argument that it does not have enough resources to cover important news stories is false and misleading.

3. Every respectable news organization, even BBC, has some tabloid or fluff journalism and human interest stories, but most of these stories on the VOA website get hardly any Facebook recommendations or Tweets while truly important news stories are being ignored.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday (January 31, February 1, and February 2 as of 7:00 PM EST) VOA did not produce a separate/exclusive report on President Obama’s most extensive comments to date (3 and a half minutes) on Ukraine and did not post the video of his Friday’s online exchange with an American audience available from the White House website.

We have put together a list of VOA reports, some of them with video, that under the programming and editorial policy set by VOA executives, VOA reporters and contract employees were told to produce and offer worldwide audiences in the last few days.

Video of President Obama Answering a Question about Ukraine at the Virtual Road Trip with the U.S. President

Voice of America did not use President Obama’s video comments about Ukraine, either on its English news website, or websites of more than 40 of its language services (except VOA Ukrainian Service).

No exclusive/separate news report  on President Obama’s comments on Ukraine was produced by VOA English News for worldwide English audiences and for translation into 40-plus VOA languages.

President Obama’s comments about Ukraine got 177 words in one VOA report that was not about his Ukraine-related statement but about other issues. Its headline did not suggest that the report had to do anything with President Obama.

Meanwhile Justin Bieber got several exclusive headlines and exclusive VOA reports in the last few days. While some of these reports were from Reuters, others were originated by VOA One of these VOA reports had 437 words and included a video.

The VOA report on a new Canadian study analyzing nightmares and bad dreams had 971 words and had numerous photos and audio. Two days later, this report was showing only 3 (three) Facebook “Likes.”

VOA’s top executives seems to like all things Canadian. For that matter, they seem to like the British Empire. They had posted dozens of reports on the VOA English website on the British royal wedding in 2011 (27 reports) and the British royal baby christening in 2013 (5 reports). The total number of British royal family related VOA reports, paid by U.S. taxpayers, might be in the hundreds if VOA foreign language translations are also counted.

[aside] caption = Voice of America’s Coverage of British Royals in 2011 and 2013
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Voice of America Director David Ensor. Critics say that VOA news reporting under him and VOA Executive Editor Steve Redish has declined and nearly collapsed.

Voice of America Director David Ensor. Critics say that VOA news reporting under him and VOA Executive Editor Steve Redish has declined and nearly collapsed.

U.S. taxpayers paid for these programs by the Voice of America (VOA) while many human rights-related news stories and important U.S. foreign policy pronouncements by the White House, the State Department, and members of Congress went unreported on VOA websites in recent months and years.

Years and months later, these reports on the British royalty posted on the VOA English website show zero or very few Facebook “Likes” or any other indication of any notable audience engagement through social media.


VOA British Royal Wedding Feast


Excited Crowds Fill London Streets for Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English Website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM


Royal Wedding Ceremony Steeped in Grandeur, Tradition Voice of America (VOA) English Website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM


Kate Middleton Wears Wedding Dress by Sarah Burton Voice of America (VOA) English Website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM


Wedding Celebrations Held in Streets Across Britain Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM


Americans Rise Early for Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM


Celebrities, Sports Stars Among Royal Wedding Guests Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM


Britain Hopes for Billion-Dollar Economic Boost from Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 27, 2011 8:00 PM


Crowds Gather for Britain’s Royal Wedding; Syrian Diplomat Pulled Off Guest List Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 27, 2011 8:00 PM


London Readies for Royal Wedding Day Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 27, 2011 8:00 PM


Formal Clothing, Informal Speeches Typical at British Weddings Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 26, 2011 8:00 PM


British Public Divided Over Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 25, 2011 8:00 PM


Britain Preparing Security for Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 25, 2011 8:00 PM


Britain’s Royal Wedding: From Cake to Clergy Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 25, 2011 8:00 PM


Bahrain Prince Declines British Royal Wedding Invitation Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 24, 2011 8:00 PM


David Beckham, Elton John Among Royal Wedding Guests Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 24, 2011 8:00 PM


Britain Notes Big Change in Royal Wedding Souvenirs Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 21, 2011 8:00 PM


Prince William, Bride-to-Be Middleton Visit Princess Diana’s Grave Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:00 PM


Britain’s Queen Formally Approves Prince William’s Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:00 PM


Britain’s Queen Celebrates 85th Birthday Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:00 PM


Royal Wedding: William & Kate Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:50 AM


A Royal Obsession, Do Americans Care? Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 19, 2011 8:00 PM


Muslim Group Applies to Protest Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 18, 2011 8:00 PM


YouTube to Air Britain’s Royal Wedding Live Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 18, 2011 8:00 PM


Princesses in Training Get Tips at Royal Tea Party Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 17, 2011 8:00 PM


10 Ways You Can Get Into the Spirit of the Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 14, 2011 8:00 PM


British Royal Engagement Sparks Interest in Modern Monarchies Voice of America (VOA) English website, November 29, 2010 7:00 PM


Britain Announces Royal Wedding Date Voice of America (VOA) English website, November 22, 2010 7:00 PM

VOA on British Royal Christening, October 2013

Among five reports on the VOA website on the royal christening in Britain posted on October 23 and 24, 2013, none has more than 20 Facebook “Likes” as of October 28, 2013, one had zero Facebook “Likes” and another one had three.

Zones: Breaking News , Europe

Prince William, Kate Hold Private Christening for New Prince

October 23, 2013 12:08 PM

……..was born on July 22. In the arms of his mother as she left the the palace’s Chapel Royal, George was dressed in a long cream satin robe that was a replica of an 1841 gown made for the christening of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter. Kate, a style icon whose outfits often increase sales of similar garments, wore an off-white, ruffled skirt-suit, made by British fashion house Alexander McQueen, and pillbox hat by British milliner Jane Taylor ….

Tags: Britain , duchess catherine , Kate Middleton , prince george , Prince William , royal christening

Zones: Europe

Reporters: Reuters

Prince George’s Godparents Named Ahead of Christening

October 23, 2013 8:20 AM

……..William and Kate’s decision is a break with the tradition of choosing royal dignitaries to take on the ceremonial role, and a continuation of their effort to portray a more informal, modern image to austerity-hit Britons. After the christening, guests will attend a private tea at Clarence House, hosted by Prince Charles and Camilla. Hollywood photographer Jason Bell has been tapped to take official photos of the event, that will include a “historic multi-generational photograph” of the queen

Tags: Britain , monarch , prince george , royal christening

Zones: Europe

Reporters: VOA News

Royal Baby Christening Breaks with Tradition

October 23, 2013 12:14 AM

Carla Babb Prince George, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is being christened in Britain on Wednesday. In a break from tradition, the christening of the world’s most famous baby will be as low key as possible. Three months ago, Prince William and his wife Catherine shared their bundle of joy with the world. And just as the royal couple broke with tradition ….

Tags: British royal family , christening , Prince William , Princess Kate , royal baby , royal christening , royalty

Zones: Europe

Reporters: Carla Babb

Hollywood Photographer to Record British Prince’s Christening

October 22, 2013 9:59 AM

Reuters A British photographer known for his portraits of rock stars and Hollywood actors was named on Tuesday as the official photographer of the world’s newest celebrity – Prince George. Prince William and his wife Kate have chosen Jason Bell to photograph the christening on Wednesday, October 23, of their son, the third-in-line to the British throne, a palace statement said. Bell, 44, is an award-winning photographer best known for portraits of celebrities such as musician Paul McCartney, footballer David Beckham ….

Tags: Britain , christening , prince george , royals

Zones: Europe , Arts & Entertainment

Reporters: Reuters

Britain’s Future Monarch Christened in Low-Key London Ceremony

October 23, 2013 12:19 PM

a central London chapel, where he made his first public appearance since his birth in July. Prince George was seen in the arms of his father, Prince William, as the elder prince and his wife Kate arrived at the Chapel Royal in St. James’s Palace for Wednesday’s traditional Anglican Christian ceremony. The infant was wearing a white satin gown, a replica of one made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in 1841. In a private ceremony inside the chapel ….

Zones: World News , Europe


During the time the most reports on Bieber, Amanda Fox and a Canadian dreams study were being posted, VOA English website failed to report or was late and perfunctory in reporting not only on President Obama’s comments about the situation in Ukraine but also on various statements on Ukraine by Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, White House Press Secretary, State Department Spokesperson, U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, U.S. Senators Menendez, McCain, Murphy and other U.S. officials and politicians.

It is all a matter of editorial policy and priorities set by top VOA executives.

New Canadian Study Analyzes Nightmares and Bad Dreams

January 31st, 2014

Waking up in the morning after having a bad dream at night might not be the best way to start the day, but, a terrifying nightmare can rock you awake from a sound sleep, leaving you scared and confused.

White House to Address Petition to Deport Justin Bieber

February 01, 2014 2:46 PM

VOA News The White House says it will be responding to a petition calling for the deportation of troubled Canadian-born pop star Justin Bieber. With more than 234,000 signatures and counting, the deportation request is well over the 100,000 names a petition on the White House website needs before the Obama administration is required to respond to it. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday the response will come “relatively soon.” The 19-year-old Bieber has made headlines recently for a series of run-ins with police related to an egg-throwing attack on his neighbor’s house in Los

Tags: bieber

Zones: USA , USA

Reporters: VOA News

January 30, 2014 12:18 AM

Reuters Teen pop star Justin Bieber, facing charges in the United States and Canada, had pot and anti-anxiety medication in his system when arrested in Florida last week but told police his mother “takes care” of his prescriptions, according to official reports released Thursday. Bieber was charged late on Wednesday with assaulting a limousine driver in Toronto and the Toronto Star newspaper reported Thursday that the driver in the alleged assault in December quit his job “in shock” following the incident. As his legal troubles

Tags: justin bieber , music

Zones: Arts & Entertainment , Americas , USA , USA , World News

Reporters: Reuters

Teen Pop Star Bieber Arrested for Drunk Driving, Resisting Arrest

January 24, 2014 12:57 AM

Mike Richman Teen pop star Justin Bieber was released from jail on Thursday after being arrested on multiple charges, including drunken driving, while allegedly speeding in Miami Beach, Florida. The arrest is the latest in a series of troubling incidents for Bieber. Wearing a red jumpsuit, 19-year-old Justin Bieber appeared in a Miami courtroom on Thursday via videolink from jail. Bieber had been arrested earlier in the day after police caught him drag racing on a residential street in Miami

Tags: Celebrities , justin bieber , Justin Bieber arrest

Zones: Arts & Entertainment , USA

Reporters: Mike Richman

Bieber Charged With Drunk Driving, Drag Racing

January 23, 2014 8:48 AM

Reuters Teen pop star Justin Bieber was arrested in Miami Beach early on Thursday on a drunken driving charge after he was caught drag racing on a main thoroughfare in a rented yellow Lamborghini, police said. The 19-year-old Canadian singer initially resisted arrest, cursed at police officers and later told them he had consumed alcohol, pot and prescription drugs, police said. A judge set his bail at $2,500. Bieber‘s arrest is his most serious run-in with the law during a year in which his erratic behavior has ranged from allegations of speeding

Tags: justin bieber

Zones: Arts & Entertainment , USA

Reporters: Reuters

Police Raid Justin Bieber‘s Home, Arrest Man for Drugs

January 15, 2014 7:55 AM

Reuters A police search of teen pop star Justin Bieber‘s California home on Tuesday in a vandalism case linked to the singer, resulted in the arrest of a man after drugs were found in the house, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said. Detectives raided Bieber‘s home at about 8:00 a.m. after the “Boyfriend” singer was accused of pelting his neighbor’s home with eggs in an incident on Jan. 9. Bieber, 19, was detained at his Calabasas home, about 30 miles (48

Tags: justin bieber

Zones: Arts & Entertainment

Reporters: Reuters

Amanda Knox Found Guilty in Murder Retrial

January 30, 2014 6:02 PM

VOA News American exchange student Amanda Knox says she is “frightened and saddened” after being re-convicted in the stabbing death of her roommate when they were students in Italy in 2007. An appeals court in Florence Thursday sentenced Knox to 28 years and six months

Tags: amanda knox , Italy , Meredith Kercher , muder trial , Raffaele Sollecito

Zones: Europe , Europe , USA , World News

Reporters: VOA News

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